A Palestinian terrorist rammed into a patrol of IDF soldiers with his car on Friday afternoon on route 585 between the settlements of Mevo Dotan and Hermesh, killing two of the soldiers—an officer and a conscript—and moderately-to-seriously wounding two others.
The attack took place when the four left their military jeep to man a nearby guard, where Palestinians have been throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the road.
When they were spotted by the terrorist, the troops were standing near a pillbox post located between the village of Ya'bad and nearby olive plantations. The two slain soldiers were standing at the front of their jeep, while the other two stood on the vehicle's other side, near the road.
Upon spotting the soldiers, the terrorist veered from the road, sped up, and hit the officer and the soldier who was standing with him first. The two were killed instantly.
Then, the terrorist sped towards the two other troops, wounding one very seriously and the other moderately. At some point, the terrorist also hit the barbed-wire fence that surrounded the pillbox post.
The IDF's assessment is that only seconds passed between the time the terrorist hit the first two soldiers to when he hit the other two, leaving the troops no time to respond and fire at him.
The terrorist's Hyundai jeep has been completely destroyed in the attack, with vehicle parts scattered to considerable distances from the spot of the attack, which is a testament to the force with which he rammed into the soldiers.
Just last week, the soldiers replaced another battalion in that area of the Samaria district, which is considered relatively quiet.
Israeli and Palestinian medics that arrived to the scene gave the wounded first aid before pronouncing two dead and evacuating the rest to Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva.
One of the soldiers is in serious condition and has been sedated and put on life support due to suffering blunt trauma to the head. He underwent a series of operations throughout the night Friday and continues fighting for life at the ICU.
The other wounded soldier is in moderate condition. He too underwent a series of operations overnight Friday and early Saturday.
The terrorist sustained light-to-moderate wounds and was treated at the scene. He was then evacuated to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera.
The Shin Bet security service identified the terrorist as 26-year-old Alaa Kabha, a resident of Barta'a—which straddles both sides of the Green Line in the Wadi Ara region.
Kabha is a former security prisoner who was released from prison in April 2017.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Yoav Mordechai, ordered the immediate suspension of the permits of Kabha's clan.
Following COGAT's directive, 67 permits to work in Israel will be revoked, along with 26 trade permits and four employment permits applicable to the settlements.
While deciding not to put a full closure on the terrorist's village, the IDF stationed troops at roads going in and out of the village to prevent other would-be attackers from leaving the village and carrying out an attack inspired by Kabha.
Gaza's two main terror groups welcomed the attack and praised its perpetrator.
Its de facto governing authority, Hamas, noted it marked "100 days since Trump was recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," and that it made clear that "the Palestinian people are continuing the intifada … and that the protest against (Trump's) decision and the (Israeli) occupation is not just a wave of (momentary) anger, but an ongoing matter until full liberation is achieved."
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad welcomed the escalation in attacks against soldiers and settlers, asserting they are part of the "natural right of the Palestinian people to defend itself in its land and holy places."
Defense Minster Avigdor Lieberman vowed to push for the terrorist to be executed, his home demolished and all those who cooperated with him brought to justice.
"There is no such thing as individual terrorism," Lieberman then added, claiming this attack—and others like it—do not qualify as such for the fact that it is backed and supported by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, "which pays money to the families of the terrorists."
Germany's Federal Foreign Office strongly condemned the attack, wishing the wounded a fast and complete recovery.
"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be resolved by force. Such criminal acts or the call for violence only lead to more hatred. On the contrary, it is all the more important to maintain the perspective of a lasting solution that will enable all Israelis and Palestinians to live a life of peace and dignity. The federal government will continue to do so," a spokesperson for the Federal Foreign Office said.
It is the second ramming attack against Israeli security forces in just two weeks. Earlier this month, an Israeli Arab ran over and lightly-to-moderately wounded two Israelis, a Border Policeman and a pedestrian, in the city of Acre in what police confirmed was a terror attack.
Elisha Ben Kimon, Yoav Zitun, Elior Levy, Raanan Ben Zur and Rotem Elizera contributed to this report.